Showing posts with label God. Show all posts
Showing posts with label God. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 3, 2013



     Today, I woke up feeling a bit better from last night. No, there was no hangover or panda eyes, just an appreciation for life and most importantly health, recovering well from a nasty flu bug that's been binging everyone on the nose.  I went to see the optometrist on Monday and my eyes are healthy, except that my left eye is slightly weaker than my right and my new specs will be adjusted accordingly.  While waiting for the optometrist to arrive, I sat in front of her office thinking how fortunate I am, to know about the health services offered at the Hospital including the Samoa Vision Services  and also the means to get there.  I have been in the hospital when the Emergency/Out Patient Unit with so many people waiting, babies crying, old men twitching nervously waiting for their daughters and very sick people complaining about the Health Services. Doctors receive the most complaints about how 'slow' and 'uncaring' they are towards their patients.  I have heard patients' complaints each time. I have heard people tell the doctor what they need because for some reason, the doctor was not smart enough to know their symptoms and appropriate medication?  Is the service slow? Yes, sometimes.  Are they uncaring? I think not.  Sure, health professionals take their time seeing patients and the outpatient probably receives more visits than any other section of the hospital on any given day.  They also receive the most complaints because of the number of beds available.  I have heard some rather absurd, funny stories while waiting in the same section.  Samoans love to exaggerate and are great storytellers.  One woman told me that she was dying and that she could hardly breath.  From what I could see, she was experiencing an allergic reaction to something she consumed or was close to.  With my Form 6 Biology class knowledge, I asked her several questions (playing the doctor), if she had eaten something she's never had before and if she was allergic to certain foods.  The poor woman did not know what 'allergic' meant and claimed she had eaten octopus in coconut cream. Bingo! Soon after, it was her turn to see the doctor and I was right, allergic reaction to octopus, she was not dying.
    November/December are thanksgiving months.  This is the time of year we reflect on the last ten months expressing thankful prayers for  God's protection and guidance in bringing us thus far.  For adding each new day to our lives despite the trials we go through and days where we just do not want to get out of bed, we are still here, air in and out of lungs, we are thankful. Today, I thank God for my health and even though I have been feeling under the weather these past few days, I am still here. I thank him for professionals such as doctors, optometrists, nutritionists, nurses and other health professionals that work in Samoa. 

Looking after peoples' health is not an easy job. I have five close friends who are doctors in different fields and I will never envy them.  Their job is hard, trying, challenging,sad and mostly rewarding. I have sat at dinner tables with them discussing the pressures of work.  I have listened to the horror stories about teenagers giving birth, patients' families telling them off, older nurses embarrassing them in front of patients and many dates we've missed due to their busy work schedules.  I have seen the toll that medicine life has taken on them.  These are the same friends I've had since primary school days, one I knew since I was 3.  I have one friend who was just ready to quit and change professions because of the pressures that our people exert on them.  They graduated young, only 23/24 and thrown into the Samoan arena without a life jacket.  They had to find their way and learning procedures fast including several defense mechanisms when people complain to them, about them and so forth. All these confirm that I should never be a doctor.  First, I do not have the patience and I don't have the stomach to cut people up. The only time I would want to be a doctor is when a close friend or family member is in pain.
    Doctors are some of the most hard working people.  They can work anywhere from 8 to 24 hours depending on the number of staff available.  If you are a student contemplating on being the cool doctor like the twitchy, old and limping guy in 'House', earning thousands of dollars, owning a brand new car/house after working for 3 years in Samoa, I promise you now that you will be sorely disappointed.  Then again, if you ask most doctors, they don't 'do it for the money'.  They do it for our people because we do not have a choice or the monetary power to attract first class medical professionals from overseas to look after our hospital all year round.  In addition, if you are a doctor you will be peed on, puked on,sworn at and at some point you will have all sorts of bodily fluids sprayed across your face. Let his blog be an encouragement and also an informative note to our people.

Samoans are people of courage and are very proud but somehow these attributes rarely drift to our health genes.  Most people wait until they think they are dying before going to the hospital.  Sometimes, they leave little infections long enough to develop into cancerous and elephant sized problems and by then it's too late.  Understandably, there are many contributing factors  such as poor diet, lack of exercise, bad habits that lead to poor health.  There are preventive measures we can take to be better at looking after ourselves.  We are hospitable people, we break out the fine china, the brand new sheets/towels when we have visitors while we use the broken dishes and the beat up towels with holes for our own use.  Why do we do these to ourselves? Why do we save the best for others? Today we should start using our brand new things for ourselves and our family.  Today we should look after ourselves better.  Today, we should be more patient with our doctors and health professionals just like they are with us.  Today, we should encourage those who have good hearts, healthy brains, who want to be health professionals in the future to do so.  People will always find something to complain about whether it's at the hospital or restaurant.  Today, we should be thankful that God exists and he is in control of everything regardless of what our mere opinions or lack thereof of him.  Take care of our bodies, it's the only place we have to live in and no wonder the bible says it's a temple. 

I leave you now with this beautiful quote;
'The thousand mysteries around us would not trouble but interest us, if only we had cheerful, healthy hearts.
~~Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche~~

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Please Choose Life!

As we roll into Christmas, which is about 8 weeks and a few days away, I think of all the good times we will have.  As we gather around our Christmas tree surrounded by our loved ones, gleefully opening our presents as we greet each other with hugs/kisses.  A time of sharing and a good excuse to exercise gluttony for the scrumptious food we will indulge ourselves in.  All the palolo  caught by Samoans this week will not reach Christmas no matter how determined you may be to save some for your overseas guests, palolo will not even make it to Santa’s sleigh. On the other hand, we will also remember those who are not with us, sharing stories of how they would brighten the room if they were present. Sadly, we will also remember those who have gone on before us and not because they were taken too soon but because they took their own lives ahead of time.

Suicide is on the rise again, 2 men committed suicide a few days apart just last week. One man took his life after a village council in Savai’i intervened as a result of abuse against his daughter. Additionally, a second man took his own life over financial difficulties. Both men were in their late 50s and what a tragedy.   We may not know the true steps that lead them down this road but I do know that they won’t be coming back.  Death is inescapable, it is final and there is no return from the grave.  They will never have another chance to be among the living.  Their families will not laugh around the table with them come Christmas, they will not again hear the laughter of their children or feel the touch of their spouses. If they have young families, their young children will never know their father. Can you imagine  what agony their families are going through, the agony felt by a wife, a daughter , a son, their parents, their friends? Having had someone so dear to them taking their own lives so soon.  If I’m being politically correct, I shouldn’t say taken because they weren’t taken, they chose to end their lives. A decision they made by themselves and carried it out successfully.

Suicide is not new to Samoa.  Sadly, Samoa became famous for this in the late 1990s ranked number one in the Pacific and number 3 in the world for the most completed suicides (Budvietas, 2012).  Something a country like ours should never be proud of.  

I include some of the more in depth studies and articles about suicide in Samoa  ~
Suicide in Samoa, Terry Bourke 2001

Some of the findings from previous studies

  • Our culture has got a lot to do with it on these grounds

  • No answering back, whatever parents say you (sons and daughters) do it.

  • Even when son and daughter married, they are still under mum and dad's control. In other words-parents must agree to who you intend to marry.

  • Discipline implementation is very harsh & cruel.

  • Church: Samoa outlook of churches is very sacred, that creates fear of the uneducated mind plus lack of communication with someone, as a result = suicide

  • Transition in which clashes of outside knowledge coming into our island, and its cultural approach to every issue, becomes too big an issue to administrate bang! comes exitement, and a serarch for changes among young people, even the not so young (Erika,2004).
 Suicide should be defined as

An act that is utterly selfish, cowardly and completely utter disregard (no respect) for human life.  When a life is ended abruptly and sometimes painfully by one, one overlooks the agony that will shake their loved ones, forever leaving a void in their hearts,those who are left behind. Their pain and suffering, the questions that they ask themselves over and over again of what they could have done to prevent their loved ones from committing suicide.

Faataua le Ola Co-Ordinator Papalii Carol Ah Chong said that 'suicide and mental illness, such as depression, are issues that we still must talk about openly-if for no other reason than that it saves lives.  The more people in Samoa talk about these issues, the more we can prevent people walking down a path from which there is no return.  Awareness and education are the cornerstones to addressing the problems of suicide and mental illness'. I agree with her and here are some ways that I think will help those who are considering suicide.

If you have problems

  1. Talk to your loved ones. I know this is probably the hardest thing to do, although your loved ones are those that you can truly trust. They know you well and even if they do not understand you completely, they will hear you out and have your best interests at heart. Teenagers, talk to your parents.  You might think that the world is against you and that your problem is unique. Wrong.  Every teenager goes through a transitional change in their lives, they have speedy hormones that are to be the reason for most of their problems including acne.  I know because I was a teenager once and I went through some tough times just like the rest of you. I’ve lived! That being said, your parents will hear you out and they should be able to help guide you to someone else if they can’t help you themselves.
  2. Seek help. This is another big obstacle for us Samoans because we do not want to talk to strangers about our problems for fear they will tell others or they will mock us. That is their problem. If you share your problems with a counselor and they do that , aside from being fired for disclosing Dr-patient information, that person will get their dues in the end. At least you told someone and it is their professional responsibility to help you.
  3. Talk to your spiritual counselor, pastor, youth leader, someone who is a role model, and someone who can be trusted with your feelings, your secrets and your fears. Seek their advice.
  4. There exists Fa’ataua le ola, lifeline and can be dialed for free from anywhere in Samoa, call then on  0800-LIFE or 0800-5433.  This might be the best option for you if it’s extremely difficult for you to talk to someone face to face. This way you will remain anonymous to the person at the end of the line and these people have been professionally trained to help you.  They should in turn be able to offer you advice, comfort and words of encouragement or refer you to someone who will help you.
  5. Talk to God, pray about your problems. God will never give you more than you can bear, and if he said that then believe in it.  He is the ultimate counselor, he knows you inside out.
  6. Surround yourself with people who are positive, who will support and encourage you when you feel down.  Be the change you want in the world  says Ghandi.  Don’t change yourself to suit other people’s idea of how you should be, peer pressure exists everywhere right up to the ripe age 80 am sure.  This I know because I work with people who are still conflicted and seem to be easily persuaded to do things under peer pressure, some well beyond their late 50s.
  7. Find something that is worth living for, find your passion and find a reason to LIVE!Don’t live for someone else, live to fulfil the purpose that God created you for. Be brave enough to live, have the courage to unshackle yourself from the fears of this world, fight for your life like you did when you were coming into this world.  If we entered this world fighting to live, we should fight to remain in it for as long as allowed.
  8. Think of all those whose lives will be empty without you in it.  The quote ‘To the world you may be one person, but to some people you are their world’ comes to mind.  Everyone has someone that loves them. If you feel that no one does then I know someone who loves you beyond comprehension. If your parents do not love you and they should, then I know someone who does, genuinely and with a sincere heart. One who laid down his life for us.  One who knows you inside out, who knows the number of hairs you have on your head and the number of cells it took to form you. He even knows the exact moment that you were created in his thoughts, who knew you before you were in your mother’s womb.  He is captain and keeper of your soul, one who knows your past, present and future, your every step and who will sustain you. The one who made you, the Creator, Jesus.

    Romans 8:35-39

    New King James Version
    Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written:
    “For Your sake we are killed all day long;
    We are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.”
    Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. 38 For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Like the vast distance from the heavens to the earth so is how great his love is for you, nothing will take away his love from you, neither heaven or hell, or angels, or nakedness, or poor etc
  9. Lastly be kind to yourself.  Some people are kind to others but not to themselves.  Love others like you love yourself, meaning we ought to love ourselves too, to be able to love other people like we do ourselves. I’m not saying we should be narcissistic or self-centered, there is a difference between being kind and making yourself the center of the universe.

I was very inspired when I saw the Miss Samoa Pageant this year.  Not only were the girls competing for the title they also had the chance to showcase their talents.  One girl stood out to me during the talent quest. Teagan Moore  was very brave when she presented her testimony about her battle with deep depression and her victory over it.  We need more young people like this, who are to be role models for our youth.  Those who are not afraid to admit their failures, their shortcomings,their health problems so that they can reach and help others.  They have put themselves last so that the message will reach those who need it at that exact moment.  At first I thought, wow poor Teagan, she will not win the crown because she was too open but then again all our steps are guided and all our days are numbered.  There was a divine reason why she did what she did and why she presented her message, her vulnerability appealed to me.  Miss Samoa pageant put aside, I think she was a winner!

With that, I leave you now with some words of advice. No I am not a medical expert or a counselor but I have studied psychology, medicine, organizational behaviour and I am an expert at living, so:

Don’t take your loved ones for granted, hug them a little tighter before you head off to your normal day because you never know when they will leave Earth. No one can guarantee their next breath or step . If you see someone that is feeling down, talk to them, communicate. Ask them how they are feeling, let them know you care and that you are there for them. Let them know that tomorrow will be a better day and that life is still worth living, that there is hope. Offer them help or refer them to someone that can help them. Let's work together for a suicide free Samoa. Please whatever you do, CHOOSE LIFE, LIVE!

Ehhh..your grandmother was hot too!

My vision fulfilled When Dr A (fiancee) proposed 2 new years ago, I suggested a photo shoot of some sort. Of course being shy with ...